Frequently Asked Questions - Complete the Degree
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Frequently Asked Questions

Is returning to college worth it?

Completing a college degree is an important investment in your future that will pay off. A person who earns a college degree, can make as much as $16,000 more per year, according to recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. And on average, college graduates make about $1 million more over their lifetimes than adults who do not have a degree.

Do I have to pay for Complete the Degree services?

No. All of our services are FREE.

What are the benefits of scheduling an appointment with Complete the Degree Chicago?

Complete the Degree is a one-stop solution with free guidance to help your return to college, information and announcements about funding and scholarship opportunities, free workshops and much more. Complete the Degree is the fast, efficient way to get back on track and earn a college degree that can lead to a steady career and secure future. Read more about our complete free services.

Do I have to live in Chicago to work with Complete the Degree Chicago?

No. Our services are available to all adults living in the Chicagoland area.

I have a good job now, why should I return to college?

Over the next 10 years, there is expected to be significant growth in occupations requiring a college degree, which means that being able to check off the “college degree” box on a job application might be the difference between getting an interview and not. In fact, studies show that college graduates rebound faster from downsizing and unemployment. The bottom line is that completing your college degree will qualify and prepare you for the jobs of tomorrow.

Will my employer help me pay for college?

That depends on where you work. Many companies provide tuition support for their employees. The first step in finding out if your employer will provide assistance is talking to them. Get tips on talking to your employer.

Won’t I feel out of place taking classes with so many younger students?

In this day and age, there is no such thing as a “typical” college student. Return learners make up a large and growing community of college students today. In fact, seventy-five percent of today’s students are college commuters, often juggling families, jobs, and school.

Will my old credits count towards the degree I intend to pursue?

Chances are many of them will. Complete the Degree will help you identify opportunities to transfer existing college credits and even earn credit for what you have learned at work or through life experience, saving you valuable time and money.   For more information on college credits, please visit http://www.learningcounts.org

How am I going to pay for my courses?

We understand that being able to pay for college is an issue for anyone making the decision to return to school to complete their college degree. Complete the Degree will help you navigate financial aid options and advise you with unresolved debt issues at previous schools. Additionally, Complete the Degree advisors will assist you with exploring your employer’s tuition reimbursement policies, if applicable. The Complete the Degree Center also has up-to-date information on scholarships for adult students.   Complete the Degree hosts a number of events and workshops throughout the year to help you identify the best way to pay for college. See the calendar for upcoming events and workshops. There is additional information available on this website. Learn more about paying for college.

I have bad credit. Will that affect my eligibility for financial aid?

Complete the Degree advisors will help you understand the resources that are available in order to assist you in resolving credit issues, including loan rehabilitation, deferment and forbearance options. Complete the Degree will work with you to determine the financial plan that best positions you to finish your education in the most affordable way possible.   Complete the Degree financial workshops are also available to help you make the best financial choices about your education. See the calendar for upcoming events and workshops.

Must I pursue my degree at a Complete the Degree Chicago partner college?

Complete the Degree staff is trained to help each student identify the fastest, most cost-effective options for completing a college degree, including but not limited to enrollment with our partner colleges. Ultimately, it’s up to each individual student to choose which college he or she wishes to attend. No matter what, all Complete the Degree participants will be directed to fully accredited colleges that have proven track records of supporting adult students through degree completion.

I do not have transportation. How can I get to my classes?

Some college programs can be completed online; so as long as you have access to a computer, you may rarely need to visit the actual campus. If you prefer classes that meet face-to-face, Complete the Degree can help you identify colleges that are more accessible to you, as well as possible public transportation options.

What do I do if I’m having difficulty after I enroll in college?

Contacting Complete the Degree is the first step to take if you experience difficulties of any kind upon your return to college. Complete the Degree staff will be available to respond to your concerns by providing you with important resources and individualized support throughout your academic journey.

Can Complete the Degree help me manage my college, work, and family schedules?

Yes, Complete the Degree understands that taking classes can be challenging, given the demands of work, busy family schedules and other responsibilities. Complete the Degree advisors will work with you one-on-one throughout your new college experience, providing a plan and support as you take on the challenges of completing college courses while managing adult responsibilities.   Additionally, many colleges now offer flexible programs that include online classes, evening, and select weekend schedules. Some programs are accelerated, which means that courses last fewer than 10 weeks instead of the traditional 13–14 weeks. We will help you identify a program that fits your schedule and develop a plan to manage your time.